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County faults Nema's decision to close waste collection company

By Caroline Chebet | October 31st 2019 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

The county government has clashed with an environmental agency over the latter's order to close a waste collection firm in Nakuru town.

The National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) ordered that a company that collects plastic waste in the town's industrial area be closed two weeks.

Nema claimed that it reached the decision after residents complained that the firm is responsible for polluting the industrial area.

Nema also claimed that the company has never conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment (IEA), and has been operating without a licence.

 The county department of the environment has, however, faulted Nema's order, saying that the closure of the company only serves to defeat efforts to collect and recycle waste in the town.

 “When people encroach on the industrial area, then they petition Nema to close down companies because of pollution, it beats the logic of fighting pollution," Muriithi Kiogora, the County Chief Officer for Environment said.

Undermines efforts

"It also undermines our efforts to dispose of waste in the correct manner."

Nakuru County Nema Acting Director Fred Kinambise, however, maintained that the company was at fault and the residents had the right to complain.

Mr Kinambise said the firm's failure to conduct an EIA and apply for a license could not go unpunished.

Kinambise averred that the license charges are spelt out in the law, and every business operator should comply.

Kiogora countered Kinambise's assertions saying that some regulations are retrogressive and have to be done away with.

He said if waste collection firms are closed because of punitive levies, counties are left with a huge burden of collecting the waste themselves.

“The county assembly agreed that startups operating in waste collection will only be charged Sh2,000 annually as an incentive as we try to reduce waste. Nema's Sh43,000 annual levy is punitive," said Kiogora.

He noted that a number of the waste collection firms have been arraigned for failing to pay the Sh43,000.

National Waste Recyclers Association Secretary-General Richard Kainika said licencing has become a huge challenge for members.


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